Start ORIENT II/2010
ORIENT II/2010

 

 

Joel S. Fetzer, Ph.D, and J. Christopher Soper, Ph.D
The Not So Naked Public Square: Islam and the State in Western Europe

The migration and settlement of large numbers of Muslims in Western Europe in recent decades has posed a challenge to European secularism. As European Muslims began to turn to the state for public recognition of their religious rights, these residents exposed a conflict between Europe’s supposedly secular political culture and state policies that provided myriad benefits to religious groups. This article examines how Muslims highlighted tensions inherent in European church-state practices and explores how European states might best ensure the successful incorporation of Muslims into their respective societies.

Islam, Europe, secularism, integration

Dr. Shireen T. Hunter
Europe’s Muslim Minority: The Challenge of Integration

The article deals with the large Muslim presence in Europe which is facing European countries, as well as Muslim communities, with multifaceted and difficult issues and challenges of integration. The biggest problem in tackling the integration challenge is that no one can agree on what precisely integration means. Many Europeans equate integration with assimilation, while Muslims are fearful of the term as a code word for the erasing of their religion and culture. Yet, there are clear criteria according to which the level of Muslim integration in Europe can be measured and future integration promoted: These are, legal, linguistic / educational, economic, civil, cultural and psychological criteria. Judged on these criteria the degree of Muslim integration is far from satisfactory. Yet the several problems would be insurmountable if both Muslims and Europeans realized that integration is a two way process; Muslims must be willing to integrate and the Europeans must be willing to accept them.

Islam, Europe, integration, assimilation

Prof. Dr. Mathias Rohe
Islam and the Law in Europe

In his paper, Prof. Rohe is focussing on the obstacles, challenges and problems with the full integration of Muslims in the several law systems in Europe and is in particular focusing on the current situation in Germany that has one of the largest Muslim populations in the European Union. Since many of them still have an immigration background, there are specific migration-related topics to be addressed. These are, however, secular in nature; they do not concern Muslims’ religious beliefs or their religious needs as such. Since September 11, 2001, Muslims in Europe and other Western societies have faced what has come to be known as “Islamophobia.” Many Muslims in Europe still tend to seek practical solutions for reconciling their own religious beliefs and practices with legal and other codes of secular European societies. Within the last few years European Muslims have also tried to formulate theoretical statements to clarify their positions on these issues, identify possible conflicts between legal and religious norms, and find adequate solutions for such conflicts.

Islam, Europe, law, Islamophobia, immigration, integration

Dr. Hansjorg Schmid
Representation or Participation? How German Muslims Seek to be Recognized

To be recognized constitutes one of the central goals of German Muslims. Representation and participation can be described as two strategies for recognition. Since the processes of constructing Islam in Germany are variegated, several fields are explored under the key focus which of the two strategies dominates: building up umbrella organisations, social commitment, Islamic religious education, Islamic theology, interreligious dialogue and Muslim articulation in the media. Finally, the process of the Muslims’ entering the arena of civil society through participation is compared with the situation of the churches which in the German context are traditionally stateoriented institutions.

Islam, Europe, Germany, Representation, Participation,

Dr. Tahir Abbas
The British Pakistani Diaspora: Migration, Integration and the Intersection of Race, Ethnicity and Religion

This paper provides a sociological overview of the post-war immigration, settlement and community development of British Pakistanis. First, there is an historical perspective on issues of migration and settlement. Second, an analysis of demographics and social mobility provides a deeper socio-economic contextualisation, with a focus on the city of Birmingham as a test case. Finally, the implications for community development in the context of plural societies is explored in the light of recent events where British Pakistanis have attained less favourable notoriety, namely in questions of socio-economic status, radicalisation and extremism. It is suggested that there are significant challenges facing this community, but very few real social, economic, political and cultural opportunities to better engage in society.

Islam, Europe, Britain, Pakistan, migration, integration

Dr. Ralph Ghadban
Fiqh al-aqalliyyÁt and its Place into Islamic Law

Besides the well known attempts of modernizing Islam through theology there is a wide field of approaches which are intending to integrate modernity into Islam. Those approaches with many different names are based on the fiqh and can be categorized into two groups under the labels fiqh al-nawÁzil and fiqh al-aqalliyyÁt. The paper intends to explain the similitudes and the differences between both fiqh and their relation to the classical fiqh. Further it intends to show how far the fiqh approach can succeed in modernizing Islam.

Islam, Islamic law, fiqh

Thomas Schmidinger
Yemen: State Failure by Regime Support?

This article considers the causes of conflict in Yemen and poses the following question: can the western states’ strategy of providing financial, logistic and military support to the government under President Ali Abdullah Saleh contribute to stabilizing the country, or could it weaken the Yemenite state instead? In matters of international security, the USA and other western states have been focusing their attention on Yemen since autumn 2009. At a London conference in late January, twenty-one foreign ministers of industrialized western states debated the matter of providing aid to President Ali Abdullah Saleh and his government.

Yemen, State Failure, USA

Dr. Mark N. Katz
Yemen and the “War on Terror”

While the US is more concerned about the presence of Al Qaeda in Yemen, the Yemeni government is more concerned about its more powerful domestic opponents: the Houthi rebels in the north and the secessionists in the south. Much to Washington’s chagrin, Sana’a has sometimes seen Al Qaeda and its sympathizers as allies against these other domestic opponents. Although Sana’a has recently renewed its cooperation with the US against Al Qaeda, it is not clear whether it is doing so because Sana’a really has come to see Al Qaeda as more of a threat (as US officials claim) or because it sees making a show of cooperating with the US against Al Qaeda as a useful way of obtaining American resources for suppressing its other opponents.

Yemen, State Failure, War on Terror, Al Qaeda

Lorenzo Guarcello and Scott Lyon
Children’s work and water access in Yemen

The strong link between water access and child health is well-documented. Much less is known about how water access affects children's activity patterns. Empirical evidence presented in this paper indicates that providing households with ready water access makes it much more likely that the children from these households attend school, and much less likely that they are reported as being idle. Improving water access also reduces the likelihood of children being economically active, though the effect is smaller in magnitude.

Yemen, Children, Water

Dr. Ahmed Farouk Ghoneim
Yemen's Prerequisites for Effective Integration in the World Economy

Yemen can be characterized by most indicators as a liberal, open, market economy. However, Yemen to a large extent lacks the organizations and institutions necessary for an efficient functioning of a liberal open economy that are able to ensure positive outcomes of market processes through regulating and monitoring the functioning of a market economy. The absence of an antidumping authority and a competition authority is a case in point. Despite several policies undertaken by the Government of Yemen (GOY) to liberalize and reform trade, such policies have not been translated into significant changes in enhancing non-oil exports. Remittances are considered an important source of revenue. The potential is high for Yemen on enhancing services exports and foreign direct investment, while there is a limited potential for diversifying merchandise exports. To reap such potential, the most important challenge for Yemen is to improve the institutions and organizations capable of enhancing such potential.

Yemen, Economy, Integration

Dr. Werner Daum
Yemen – A short History of three Millennia

During the first millennium BC, the caravan kingdoms of Yemen provided Mesopotamia, Greece and Rome with their most expensive luxuries: frankincense and myrrh, cinnamon and cassia. The legendary Incense Road, the world's oldest trading route, connected India and Arabia with the Mediterranean. During the high Middle Ages, Yemen under the Rasulids was once again at the heart of world trade: farsighted policies made the Indian Ocean a cultural, religious and commercial unity, centred on Aden.

Yemen, History

Dr. Babak Rahimi
The Virtual Ulama: Dissent, Internet and Shi‘i Clerics in Post-revolutionary Iran

An attempt is made to study the political impact of Internet on Shi‘i Iran since the mid-1990s, when the new information technology was first introduced to post-revolutionary Iran. The study underlines the ways in which Shi‘I groups of various political factions, while guided under the spiritual leadership of diverse Grand Ayatollahs based in Qom and Najaf, have used the new information technology to carve out new spaces of dissent against the Iranian theocracy since the election of the reformist cleric, Mohammad Khatami, in 1997. Based on interviews in Iran and text analysis of websites, the study examines Shi‘i cyber activism in terms of a new political discourse of selfhood, piety, politics and spiritual authority. The study looks at Internet in three significant phases of development: First, the “reformist period,”. the second phase is referred to as “Najaf period,” and the third stage, the “Green period,” is identified here in close connection with the turmoil following the disputed 2009 Presidential Elections.

Iran, Shia, Internet, Cyber Activism

 

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J. Christopher Soper, Ph.D, and Joel S. Fetzer, Ph.D

The Not-So-Naked Public Square: Islam and the State in Western Europe

Dr. Shireen T. Hunter

Europe’s Muslim Minority: The Challenge of Integration

Prof. Dr. Mathias Rohe

Islam and the Law in Europe

Dr. Hansjörg Schmid

Representation or Participation? How German Muslims Seek to be Recognized

Dr. Tahir Abbas

The British Pakistani Diaspora: Migration, Integration and the Intersection of Race, Ethnicity and Religion

Dr. Ralph Ghadban

Fiqh al-aqalliyyÁt and its Place in Islamic Law

Thomas Schmidinger

Yemen: State Failure by Regime Support?

Lorenco Guarcello and Scott Lyon

Children’s Work and Water Access in Yemen

Dr. Ahmed Farouk Ghoneim

Yemen's Prerequisites for Effective Integration in the World Economy

Dr. Werner Daum

Yemen – A short History of three Millennia

Dr. Babak Rahimi

The Virtual Ulama: Dissent, Internet and Shi‘i Clerics in Post-revolutionary Iran

REVIEWS

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